"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
Do you remember day dreaming as a kid, as a teenager, as a college student? Whether it was borne of boredom in class at school, during a session on the playground swings when you tried to launch into space, or after dislodging your nose from a book and plotting your own adventure – we’ve all given in to day dreaming throughout our lives.
Some of those dreams get changed by reality, when you start a new relationship, when you buy your first house, when you enter a new career. I know that having a family sometimes means that your own dreams go on hold for a time. But maybe that just means it’s time to reframe your aspirations to fit the context. Some of those dreams stick with you though. They’re so strongly rooted that nothing can shake them off. The heart and mind yearn for those aspirations.
The formula for making your aspirations a reality is the same formula you use for anything else that you go out and accomplish. It starts with defining what you want to do. What dream gnaws at your waking mind? We get so much done throughout our days for other people. Demands from supervisors at work, from family members at home – we do those things because they’re a necessity. Why shouldn’t your dreams be a necessity too? They drive and create that life of passion and joy that we long for. Life has already begun and we only get one to live, so start now.
It can be a struggle some days to pursue those dreams when you still have every day life sapping your energy. I know that tonight I will go home after working for 10 hours, I will cook dinner for the family, and clean the kitchen when I’m done. I might also spend one hour of my evening working on my small business because that’s important to me, or I may go for a trail run along the beautiful Chuckanut Mountains and snap some shots of the San Juan Islands along the way because that’s my joy and lifeblood. Responsibilities shouldn’t be ignored for the sake of fun, but try to find the energy and time to do what you love too.
This doesn’t mean I condone over-filling your schedule. Trim the fat. Quoting one of my good friends, “Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.” That’s how to set priorities. Live that out and you find a little more time for the things that matter to you.
Change your focus. I love to travel. It’s not cheap. Many friends and colleagues say they don’t understand how I can travel as much as I do and pay all my bills with my wages. But if travel is the priority, you find a way. I don’t have a tv, so no cable bill. Only a cell phone. I’m moving to a small studio because it’s less expensive. Those stops at the drive-thru coffee stand add up and I’d rather save that money to enjoy some Turkish coffee in an Arab café honestly. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. There’s always a way.
And that thought leads me to another: Hope, Plans, and Goals. Sometimes those dreams seem so far off, so impossible. Hope keeps you going, a game plan helps you get there, and goal setting with baby steps makes it achievable. Focus on those dreams.
So what have you been day dreaming of lately?